Friday, May 10, 2013

‘Portable’ solar energy improves farmer’s livelihood

By Rhoda Musili

Mutomo District is an arid and semi arid area that oftenly experiences recurrent droughts with high sun intensity levels.As such one would expect that the population here would exploit this natural resource as a source of energy.But this is rarely the case.Majority of households  here still rely on kerosene as a source of energy to provide lighting.

However, one farmer has tapped into this natural resource and is reaping the fruits.Meet Kisilu Musya, a 43 year old father of eight who has realized the potential of solar energy and is enjoying an improved livelihood out of it.

Mr.Musya keeps a knapsack with him all the time.Inside, he carries a portable solar panel which has a USB port.He uses this solar panel to charge his camera and phone on the go.In addition to this,Kisilu has a solar lantern and torch which provides lighting for his family at night.This has had a great impact in reducing his spending costs in buying kerosene and paying for camera and mobile charging services.

“I used to spend a minimum Kshs. 200 every month on kerosene,” says Kisilu who adds he also used to spend another Kshs.300 on mobile phone charging charges every month.

“Whenever my camera or phone has no charge, I just look for a sunny spot and charge both of them and am ready to go,” says a bubbly Kisilu.


Above; (Left), Mr.Musya charges his digital camera with the portable solar panels,(Right),his children do their homework with the aid of the solar lantern lighting.

Mr.Musya benefitted from a solar charger - a "bag" with 4 solar panels of 3,5 watts each during a recent visit to Norway (see story here; The bag has a USB which is able to charge a computer, a digital camera and a phone.He also benefitted with a solar lantern and a torch which has saved him kerosene costs.

Improved livelihood

He also benefitted with a laptop, a video camera and a digital camera.Armed with this digital camera, Mr.Musya has embarked on community photography initiative which fetches him a monthly income of around Kshs.2,000 thus boosting his income,” says Mr.Musya who adds that he also offers phone charging services to some community members .

Kisilu’s situation is a clear example on how people can use the available natural resources to improve their livelihoods.”Whereas people see the high sun intensity levels as a curse, I see it as a blessing;it has changed my life for the best,” concludes Mr.Musya.


  1. solar energy is one of the renewable sources of energy.. but there is lot of progress yet to be done to harness it completely
    Feed in Tariff Program

  2. nice post. Well what can I say is that these is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for panels for schools


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